Amaretto Crème Brûlée

So what do you do when you find yourself with 6 leftover egg yolks?  Make crème brûlée, of course!  Crème brûlée is a classic French dessert that consists of a custard made of egg yolks, cream and sugar, and topped with a hardened layer of caramel.  It’s actually a really quick and easy dessert to make.

The most “difficult” part, in my opinion, is getting the hang of using the blow torch!  Yup, I’m not kidding.  I don’t usually make crème brûlée (at least not properly) because of my fear of using the blow torch!  Granted, I have one of those humongous propane torch kits (don’t ask me why) that’s meant for soldering and home repairs, rather than a compact kitchen torch that a chef or baker would use.  It also didn’t help my confidence when a friend of mine told me she couldn’t turn off her blow torch once and had to resort to calling the Fire department (for lack of a better solution)!

Anyway, I wasn’t about to let things get out of hand, so I asked for help.  After a short tutorial on how to assemble and ignite my manual torch, I successfully finished off each crème brûlée with a nicely caramelized layer of sugar.  (Update: I also now have a new handy little blow torch 😊).

If you don’t have a blow torch, you can broil the crème brûlée at 500F on the very top rack of your oven.  Make sure you keep an eye on it though.  You should get a nice burnt crust within a few minutes.  If your oven isn’t hot enough, the sugar won’t caramelize quickly and the custard will end up twice baked and curdled!

This deliciously boozy variation has been adapted from this traditional crème brûlée recipe.  I made sure to add enough Amaretto so that you can actually taste it!  You can always skip the alcohol, of course, but why would you?!

AMARETTO CREME BRULEE (serves 6)

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp (90 mL) Amaretto
560 ml heavy cream
1 vanilla bean (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
6 Tbsp additional sugar 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (170ºC). In a saucepan, heat the cream for 5 minutes with the vanilla bean cut in half, without boiling, just to infuse the vanilla. Scrape out the vanilla seeds and combine with the cream. If you are not using a vanilla bean, simply add the vanilla extract to the hot cream.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar. Stir in the hot cream while continuing to whisk. Mix in the Amaretto.  Pour the mixture into six 3.5-inch (9 cm) ramekins.

3. Bake in a water bath. To do this, place the ramekins in a baking dish. Pour hot water 3/4 up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40 minutes.

4. Carefully remove ramekins from baking dish.  Place on wire rack to cool slightly, then refrigerate to chill completely.

5. Prior to serving, sprinkle 1 tbsp of additional sugar over the tops of each custard.  Caramelize quickly with a hand-held torch. Re-chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to allow the sugar to harden before serving.

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